Govt to start rationalisation, 2,565 surplus primary teachers identified
Setting in motion the process of teacher rationalisation, the Punjab government has identified 2,565 surplus primary teachers across the state for transfer to schools where they are fewer in number.
Of these, 1,159 are junior basic teacher (JBT) and elementary teacher training (ETT) teachers, 879 pre-primary teachers and 527 head teachers. These surplus teachers, who are presently working in 1,800-odd primary schools across the state, will be shifted to schools where there are no teachers or are deficient in staff as part of the exercise initiated under the teacher rationalisation policy.
“The assessment of teacher availability in schools has been made on the basis of student enrolment as on December 8. These surplus teachers will be now asked to give their options online for deployment and then, they will be shifted in a transparent manner,” a senior school education department official said. As per initial data, Gurdaspur has 394 JBT, ETT and head teachers declared surplus in primary schools, Jalandhar 127, Mansa 205, Sangrur 209, Ludhiana 134 and Patiala 209.
The state has approximately 40,000 teachers, including head teachers and cluster head teachers, in 13,000-odd primary schools. The rationalisation process is being carried out as per the norms of the Right to Education (RTE) Act under which the pupil-teacher ratio of 30:1 is to be maintained.
The state council of ministers had approved the rationalisation policy in March 2018 to overcome shortage of teachers in several schools by way of optimum utilisation of available human resources and then made some changes while approving the online teacher transfer policy in January this year. Over the years, lack of rationalisation has led to a lopsided teacher deployment. There are surplus teachers in schools in towns and suburbs whereas those in rural and border areas have fewer than the requirement.
The present government had, in its election manifesto for the 2017 state assembly polls, promised to rationalise deployment of teachers, saying that a large number of schools are without teachers, particularly in border and far-flung areas, despite the claim that rationalisation happens every year.
Though the policy got the cabinet nod 20 months ago, its implementation has taken time as school teachers, a politically volatile segment led by assertive union leaders, were reluctant to move out of their comfort zones. At the start of the academic year, 18% primary schools did not have three subject teachers as per RTE norms and several hundred schools just had one teacher each.
The department, which plans to complete the rationalisation exercise in primary schools within a month or so, has decided that teachers who are cancer patients or undergoing dialysis or suffer from physical disability of 60% and above will not be shifted even if they fall in the surplus category. The teacher, according to guidelines finalised by the department, with the longest stay will be redeployed instead.
Similarly, if a teacher is superannuating before March 31, 2020, he/she won’t be shifted. “After primary schools, rationalisation will be taken up in secondary schools,” said another senior official. As per the policy, redistribution and rationalisation of teaching posts is to done from December 1 to 31 every year.